Manifesting the present

Some updates after a long hiatus.

So, I have clearly not been keeping up with my posts here over the last few years.  There was so much change going on, I didn’t know where I was going to land.  I am now finished with the clinical portion of my midwifery studies at MLL.  I have relocated back to my hometown of Oakland, CA.  I am working again as a RN in the job I dreamed up for myself while at MLL.  No, really.  On New Years Eve of 2015-2016 I created a vision board, one of my NYE rituals, and on it I included two scraps of paper from an ad for SF General Hospital.  SFGH was the one place I could imagine re-entering my nursing profession, and training as a Perinatal RN.  Why is SFGH so special?

  • It is a birth center in a community hospital with 24 hour midwifery care specializing in normal birth.
  • A teaching hospital where the staff MDs are all faculty at UCSF, and do shift work instead of being on call, meaning they are in-house and engaged in patient care 24/7.
  • Provides compassionate evidence-based care primarily to underserved populations, most on Medi-Cal, Medicare or uninsured.  We provide care for medically high-risk patients and folks with very complicated psycho-social backgrounds.
  • Baby Friendly designation means exclusive breast feeding is strongly encouraged and supported
  • Very low c-section rates, impressive especially with the highly complex patient population we serve
  • Providers who are skilled in vaginal delivery of twins and breech presentations
  • 24/7 free volunteer doula program for labor and postpartum
  • AND it’s also set in a beautiful new state-of-the-art building, with private rooms, and gorgeous artwork all over.  I think our patients are really lucky 🙂

So, yeah, I love it here.  I couldn’t imagine doing hospital work anywhere else.

That being said, I am still working towards my travel midwifery career.  This current position has given me so much extra training in managing high-risk situations for mom and baby, tons of lactation experience and a great understanding of hospital policies and best-practices.  It has also provided me the financial security to finally pay off my student loans and obtain a level of freedom that will enable me to do what I really am passionate about down the line…It’s all in the works folks.  Patience has been a great teacher this year.

I continue to foster relationships with other midwives and have some exciting developments lining up for later in 2019.

In my time off I have been traveling a lot to the coast of Nayarit and Jalisco MX, surfing, being barefoot, sailing, adventuring, doing yoga and really working on some deep healing that needed to happen after the tumultuous last few years that involved a breakup, a major move (leaving an entire life and business behind in another country), a very demanding midwifery residency and then a new job.   I feel so much closer to my true path these days.  Having just returned from a beautiful month off, I am deeply renewed and re-invigorated.  My next steps feel stronger and clearer.  I am truly thrilled for what comes next.

One of the amazing sunrises from my recent sailing adventure on the Sea of Cortez

Recently I have seen a new article on Home Birth vs Hospital Birth circulating on social media. This response caught my eye, a piece on autonomy in women’s reproductive choices by Birth Anarchy Blog.  She posits, it should not merely be a discussion about what method of birthing is safer or better, though this is helpful in making informed choices, but any such conversation must also respect what the woman ultimately decides is right for her, whatever her reasons may be, and trust that her choice is the right choice.

What are your thoughts?

“These conversations  – about homebirth studies, about home vs. hospital – they’re never really about safety.

They are about control.

They are about keeping women in their place.

They are about restricting access to choice.”

Home vs Hospital Debate Misses Mark 

Lessons Come in Many Forms

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.


It has been a bumpy road thus far.  Being back at the clinic, trying to connect with a new group of fellow students (who all had bonded months before I arrived) and then getting back into the flow of the clinic and birth has been a challenge.

I have had a mixed bag of experiences with labor and birth since my return.  First quarter, from what I recall, was all lovely smooth births and only one transfer for stalled-out labor / maternal request.

Since being back I have had an onslaught of complications and transfers to Hospital, with a few smooth labors and births mixed in.  Here is a recap:

  • I had a mom with Pre Labor Rupture of Membranes (PROM) whose labor set in almost at deadline and progressed extremely rapidly.  A beautiful, if not somewhat chaotic, fast birth followed by a transfer of baby 5 hours later for unresolving tachypnea (fast respirations).
  • I had another PROMer whose contraction pattern set in nicely after herbal stimulation, then transferred for long decelerations of fetal heart rate while baby was still high and mom not yet in active labor.  It turned out she was active by the time she got to the hospital, but it was a face presentation which can be tricky to deliver vaginally.
  • Another PROMer, whose labor set in after herbal stimulation and birthed beautifully but with some moderate meconium in the water when the bag ruptured.  We were prepared to suction baby at birth but as the head presented all the stained liquor sprayed from the baby’s nose like an ornamental fountain, thus clearing itself without the need for suction. Pretty impressive!
  • A lovely birth with no issues.
  • Then a PROMer again with failure to progress (per our protocol) after many hours laboring and fetal tachycardia not resolving with interventions, who transferred.
  • Then a labor (not PROM, finally) who developed late and variable fetal heart rate decelerations not resolving with O2 and left side lie who, upon rupture of membranes, had very particulate meconium and transferred to hospital.  We later learned baby was being kept in NICU for serious health issues unrelated to the birth.

Phew!  A very long list of not the most lovely experiences.  Luckily at the end of all this, I have had two gorgeous births since, no tears, no issues, very peaceful and very pleased clients and babies at discharge.

I was starting to feel like I was the cause of all these complications, though realistically I know I can’t CAUSE people to PROM or babies to present in certain manners, or have non-reassuring fetal heart rates…but that is how I felt.  My fellow students were having a bunch of lovely births to report on and I had a slew of transfers.  It made me feel crummy and has been a big test to my self-esteem.  As the “new girl” in the group, I feel I am judged more on my outcomes than the others, though this is likely just a perception.  I definitely burnt a lot of sage through all this, trying to cleanse any negative energy I may have been contributing.

Of course, all of these experiences are overseen by the Licensed Midwives (LM) on shift with us, so no course of action is ever undertaken without their assessment of the situation and final decision.  But the students here LOVE to make assertions about the decisions made and what constitutes a necessary vs unnecessary transfer.  For some here, I feel like transferring to the hospital is equivalent to making a pact with the devil, something to be avoided at all costs!  But recognizing what falls within our scope of practice and what does not is an important part of being a safe practitioner.

Last shift, I had the chance to talk over one of the more recent transfers with the Supervising Midwife in that case, someone with decades of experience whose opinion really matters to me. She reassured me that the transfer was definitely necessary and that I was not just overreacting to the situation or creating a problem where one did not exist.  She went on to say that she was relieved the situation occurred with me as the student midwife because she felt she could trust me to deal with a difficult scenario.  That made me feel better.

I have been trying to put everything into perspective and am realizing that THIS is my time to LEARN, so having a bunch of perfect scenarios, while nice, is not exactly a learning experience for real life.  Having complications arise and being able to recognize and react to them IS teaching me valuable lessons for later when I am practicing on my own.  I need to know how to react in these more complex situations in order to provide good, safe care in the future.

SO while the experience has been less than rosy at times, it has been valuable.  I hope to continue learning and improving, and to remain humble and appreciative of the lessons no matter what form they may take.

Always Learning,


New Moon Magic

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.


The new moon energy is upon me.  Testing, begging, to release the past and embrace what is to come.  It is a time to be introspective and I am feeling that deeply as of late.  Finding my shadow side, exploring it, accepting the darkness while still recognizing the abundance of LIGHT required to cast such deep shadows.  Finding those aspects of myself that no longer serve me and flushing them out.  It has been a time of creativity, playing with watercolors, drawings, collages etc.  Lots of MUSIC.  Lots of sage burning.  Some tarot cards.  Pulling cards that are so clear: all about growth, personal strength, undoing self-doubt, letting the LIGHT shine BRIGHT .

Growth is hard work.  Learning to face my weaknesses, to see OPPORTUNITIES rather than defeat – ooph, it can be exhausting!  But I think worth it ultimately.  I have faith that I can do it, out here in strange lands, floating on my own…I can do it.



Artwork By Aitch

Such a luscious representation of the womb.  Trying to inspire myself after a long night and not enough sleep.  Sometimes the best self-care is finding the beauty in what we see daily…

Follow the link above for more of her beautiful work


“Allowing mom and baby to stay physically attached for just a few seconds longer could save that newborn’s life, says new research from Baylor University Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The research, conducted through Baylor Research Institute (BRI) and to be published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that waiting 45 seconds before clamping the umbilical cord reduces a preemie’s risk of bleeding in the brain. Cord blood, packed with vital stem cells and immunoglobulins, pumped seconds after birth can help the child’s body repair itself naturally, the research found.”



Poem: Midwife


Here I come baby

Through the morning sun

To coax you,

Tickle you, guide you

From your womb-world.

How many times is it now?

Your soul in transit,

And I

The tour guide,

Am blessed to meet you

As you cross

Into waiting arms.

by: 1sagefemme

via Midwife.

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